Thomas Edison was an American inventor and businessman. A holder of over 1,000 patents in the US alone, Edison invented, among other things, the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a practical, long-lasting light bulb. His work significantly impacted – indeed, was the start of – the power, recorded sound and motion picture industries. Edison began his working life as a telegraph operator.

Edison, like some others – Michelangelo and Benjamin Franklin come immediately to mind – is an excellent example of someone who spent his life doing what he was meant to be doing with it. Now, Edison had some advantage others do not. One, he was a genius, talented like few others and he had an immense capacity for work. Two, he had the great good fortune of being in the right place at the right time. He also had his share of good luck, but you tend to make your own good luck in this life.

But he also shared some traits with us mortals. One, he had the same 24 hours every day that everyone else throughout human history has had. Two, he was issued assorted talents and ambitions at birth like we were. And, like we can be, Edison was committed to getting the most out of those talents. He knew success was nothing more than having the wisdom to know the life you are meant to live, the courage to go and live that life and the patience to see it through to the desired end.

We’ve wondered from time to time if Edison ever astounded himself. His impact and influence on his fellow humans is, after all, lasting and profound and he had to have been aware of that he would be living down the ages. Based on our experience with some modest attainments, he may very well not have astounded himself. He may well have thought his contributions and excellences were his do for the diligence and skill he put into his work.

We may not – or we may – live down the ages like Edison, but there is no reason we cannot get the most out of our talents like he did. When we do that, what’s meant to happen in our life usually does.